It’s July – and it’s hot in Texas and throughout the rest of the country. On average, 37 kids die as a result of being left in a hot car. Last year, 43 children died in hot cars in the U.S. This number comes despite efforts from numerous child-safety advocacy groups, hospital education programs, product developers, and disturbing media coverage. Unfortunately, Texas is No. 1 for child hot car deaths in 2018. From 1990 to 2017, 120 children died in Texas as a result of heat stroke. Over this same time period, a total of 836 children died from being left in the car across the country. These numbers indicate just what a serious – albeit preventable – problem this is.
Many people still do not understand just how dangerous it is to leave a child in a hot car – even for just a few seconds or minutes. Cars heat up very quickly, even on cool days. Temperatures can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes, and a child’s body heats up three to five times as fast as an adult’s.
What Are the Laws?
It is illegal to leave a child in a car without adult supervision in Texas, regardless of whether it is the middle of summer or the dead of winter. Under the Texas Penal Code, Title 5, Chapter 22, Section 10, a child cannot be left in a vehicle for more than five minutes. However, even five minutes can be deadly during the summer. According to a recent report, 2018 is on track to become the deadliest year for children being left in hot cars. As of right now, 28 children have died due to heatstroke or heat exhaustion as a result of being locked in a hot car.
July is the deadliest month for hot car deaths, which is why they have made an effort to raise awareness and encourage parents to get in the habit of “looking before you lock.” Researchers at the University of California – San Diego, found that a child’s body temperature can reach 104 degrees after one hour in a hot car.
Keep Kids Safe
Here are a few tips to ensure your child is never left behind in a hot car:
- Get in the habit of opening the back door of your car when you park to check that your child has not been left behind
- Put something in the back seat to remind you to open the door
- Ask someone to hold you accountable
- Make sure children cannot get into your parked car
In most cases, a child dying in a car happens from being forgotten. This can happen when a parent that doesn’t normally take the child to school or daycare is given this task, only to go about their normal day, forgetting their child was ever in the car. Here at Shamieh Law, we understand just how devastating and sensitive these types of cases are. We are advocates for the safety and well-being of everyone, whether children or adults. It is imperative that we understand just how dangerous leaving a child in a hot car can be, and how soon this mistake can turn deadly. If you find yourself faced with this situation, please contact our Dallas personal injury lawyers right away to schedule a consultation.